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Morality, Public and Private

The relationship between the private moral behavior of a manager or public official and the moral responsibilities attached to his or her public role is complicated. On the one hand, it is an open question whether the moral standards used to evaluate individuals’ private behavior ought to be different from the standards used to evaluate their behavior in public roles, representing organizations with public stakeholders. On the other hand, any willingness to separate private from public moral evaluations potentially overlooks the ways in which private conduct can interfere with the satisfaction of an individual’s public responsibilities.

There are two reasons that are often cited to justify the moral separation of private conduct from the conduct of individuals occupying public roles. First, it is sometimes said that ...

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